Tuesday, November 27, 2007

But Can He Handle New York?

The Yanks are now involved in the Johan Santana sweepstakes, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he ended up a Yankee. If it costs Hughes, Cano, and Melky, so be it. Plus, the Yanks are one of the few teams that can pay the guy the $20 million per year it will take to keep him. I think they’re the frontrunners to get him, especially because the Mets’ farm system is inferior.

The biggest thing separating the Yankees from the Red Sox is a postseason dominator. The Sox have a couple in Beckett and Schilling. Chien-Ming Wang showed that he certainly doesn’t fit the bill, and while Pettitte has been mostly good, if he retires, who’s the go-to guy in October? The Yanks want Santana like crazy, because right now, it’s all about matching up with Boston.

But the biggest question is, can Santana handle New York? Minnesota is a different world. And I know he’s pitched a couple of times in the ALDS, with pretty good results. But he’s never succeeded on a big stage.

Boston did an excellent job getting Beckett and Schilling, because those two had proven they can win in baseball’s biggest stage, the World Series. You knew they’d do just fine in Red Sox Nation. Matt Clement was a question mark in this area, and turned out to be a disaster.

Now, if the Yanks get Johan, I’m sure he’ll do great in the regular season, just like A-Rod has done. But in the Bronx, it’s all about October. Will Johan be more Wang or Beckett when it counts? There’s no way to know. One thing’s for sure: The Yanks are willing to bet the farm to find out.

No comments: